Coming out of work from Hotel RIU Palace Maspolomas, the spanish words ‘mesa para una por favor’ ran through my mind. Table for One.
I was trying my best to pick up spanish quickly – pushing myself in fact. I wanted to be fluent in the language as soon as I could. As much as I enjoyed being in a different country. In fact, unknowingly falling in love very quickly with Gran Canaria, because of its hidden, internal earthen terrain, sweeping rocky shoreline and deep blue Atlantic Waters. I also wanted to connect culturally, with the people I spent my day surrounded by. Especially in San Fernando where I was living, bordered to the north of Playa del Ingles and around a 50 minute walk home from the hotel.
2020 is definitely allowing a little time for reflection on my travels over the past few years. Gran Canaria popped into my mind as one of the most surprisingly, delightful little islands which I’ve come across. It taught me about how we can stumble upon the things we love personally, whilst taking the risk with creating change.
Working as an Overseas Rep in the RIU Palace, provided me with a stunning back drop of the Maspalomas Sand Dunes (GC is between 100 to 200 miles off the coast of Africa). It also offered idyllic mountain views in front.
Being here I experienced the unexpected – bliss.
This bliss was internal and felt within my gut. A constant presence and a surprise to experience this depth of personal wellbeing. I couldn’t believe that I was finding bliss in Gran Canaria, because at the same time, I felt the physiological and psychological effects of having experienced a long-term, human connection and marriage and being away from both. An ache and yearning to be with my husband and family in the UK.
The RIU Palace, a white washed colonial style hotel. Its interior slightly dated but still genuinely charming, cuddled lush green gardens, filled with plants and palm trees. Offering sand dune views from its outdoor bar, white sun-loungers surrounding its two glistening pools. It’s as if you are sitting in an oasis within the desert. The staff mostly helpful, friendly and efficient but expectant of me being an expat and working in the hotel, to learn the language and speak it to them.
The hotel is located in Playa del Ingles. Built in the 1960’s, and a great location for the LGBT traveller. Gran Canaria is an incredibly liberal place and I felt this freedom during my 6 weeks on the island.
The hotel itself has two curved sides, linked together by walkways. Its interior hides indoor gardens open to the sky, filled with bird song and some sea facing rooms – of decent size – offer exquisite views of dunes and ocean. On the ground floor a wide, public and tiled walkway runs through its middle (watch out for it being slippery when wet) leading guests, holidaymakers and locals down to the sand dunes and coastal path.
Across the undulating and ever-changing hot sand (best time of day is early morning) you can walk to the sea – nude sunbathing is available on its shoreline as you walk directly south. I heard tales of gay lovers being discovered amongst the dunes – a shock for some and a delight for others. But if you follow the right path across – and keep the Maspalomas light house in front of you, within around 45 minutes you reach the next and newest resort of Melonares. A more wheelchair accessible resort.
Although I thought I was going to find Playa del Ingles, not my kind of resort. It has a sort of chavvy charm about it, which in my mind makes it endearing. Maybe having the illustrious RIU Palace overlooking its interior, makes it feel like having your Nan round your house, when all your mates are there-giving everything some sort of order. I’m unsure. But along with the rest of the island it stole my heart.
Kim’s Bar stole my stomach with her truly british breakfast. It always surprises me, when I travel abroad – I get that urge for a little piece of home!
Do you get the urge for home. Even though its fun to be abroad?